Book Reviews

Book 12

Indian Essential Oils By S.S. Deshpande.

Publ. Indore University Publications, Indore (India) 1977.

Prof. Deshpande was a  distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Holkar, Indore, and at Agra College, Agra amongst other posts. This book was an important, but probably little known book on stereochemical aspects of terpenoid components in its time, published after his death. The manuscript was checked over prior to publication by Prof. Sir Derek Barton Ė and if you donít know who he is, gentle reader, you ainít never studied chemistry!  

Nowadays, we have more modern techniques such as IR and NMR to confirm molecular structural details, but this book illustrates the detective work which could be employed using optical rotation, x-ray diffraction, circular dichroism to establish such structural information. Part two deals in logical sequence with acyclic, monocyclic and bicyclic terpenes,  and bicyclic sesquiterpenes with other carbon frames, and finally tricyclic sesquiterpenoids. It is not a comprehensive review of terpenoids, rather focusses on those components found especially in Indian essential oils, such as Khusinol, Costol, Jatamansone, the Santalenes, Patchouli alcohol etc.

It is very satisfying to be able to trace the thread of scientific logic and achievement through these pages, but as far as the layman is concerned, it is imagined that the technical language and concepts would probably defeat the reader. Nevertheless the posthumous book is a tribute to a great investigator and scientist

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